Friday, March 27, 2015

The power of procrastination

I'm curious to know if there is a term for someone who is selective about their procrastination. I have noticed that I seem to be two different people in terms of getting things done. One of these days, I will actually try and figure out how I subconsciously decide whether to procrastinate or not....but I can do that some other time.

The combination of growing up fixing things with my dad and the numerous years I spent working in a hardware store has given me a fix-it-now mentality. If something "big" breaks around the house, I get excited about the project and get it done. On the other hand, when something small needs fixing, I tend to let it slide way too long. I know of three drawers, two doors, a table and a chair that have minor repairs needed (for months now) and still remain broken. The important lesson I want you to learn today though is that there is power in procrastination. Sometimes tackling those items on the to-do list right away can do more harm than help. Here's an example:

A couple of years ago, we had the wonderful experience of a leaking water heater. Since I worked in a hardware store at the time, I had not only the knowledge and skills to replace the water heater with ease, but also a nice employee discount to purchase it. It started leaking on a Sunday, so I bought a new water heater the next day at work knowing I had Tuesday off to install it. The project went as smooth as silk and we had a new, leak-free water heater in our house.

It was great being able to tackle that project and complete it in a timely manner. Now for the bad part about not procrastinating.... About a week later, there was a puddle of water at the base of the water heater. Turns out the condensate line from the furnace was plugged and overflowed, leaving a puddle of water under the nearby water heater. That problem was solved with three dollars worth of tubing. The problem it created was that now I am always second guessing whether the water heater was leaking or if it was the condensate line the whole time.

There is a valuable lesson to learn here. There is power in procrastination. OK, maybe not really, but I am going to see how I can best use this to my advantage when I don't feel like fixing something the second it breaks. Until next time....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Do not forget the cuteness

It's no secret that I often use ideas from my daughters to generate content for my blog posts. This post is no exception. I did have a great idea for writing a long winded post about a pink brush we purchased this week, but my wife ruined that by beating me to the punch and writing about it on Facebook before I could. (Seriously though... if your kids have long tangled hair, get a "Wet Brush". We got ours for $8.99 at Target. It's the greatest invention EVER for no-hurt, tangle free brushing! - I'm getting excited about it all over again, so you might see a post about it in the future anyway.) OK, back on topic again....where was I?
I asked Ziva, my smart-beyond-her-years kindergartner, what I should write about tonight in my blog. Without hesitation, she said I should write about how cute Siri is. Siri is my preschool daughter pictured above. Ziva's idea surprised me on a few levels. I was taken aback at her expression of love and appreciation for her little sister. They certainly love each other, but their love for fighting with each other has been more prevalent lately. Tonight was no exception...hence my surprise.

A few minutes after I got home from work, Sarah brought the girls home from the Lenten service at church. Before I could even say hi to my girls, my wife was directing each of them to different chairs for time-outs. Apparently, they were quite a handful with their post-service, feeling a little sick, crabbiness. Over the next hour, attitudes and "vocalizations of differing opinions" soared. Tensions were running high in our household and the decision was made to start baths a little early and whisk the girls off to bed.

It was while Sarah was giving Siri a bath that I asked Ziva what I should write about. Ziva's suggestion to write about her sister's cuteness a mere minutes after they were trying to strangle each other is what brought (what I thought was) the big surprise. My response was (and I'm a little ashamed of this) that it might be a little difficult to write about how cute Siri is right now. She of course wanted an explanation. I said it might be a little tough to write about her cuteness after the rough evening we've been having where everything BUT cuteness was on display. Now for the real surprise...

Ziva's response was that I should just think about the times that Siri WAS being cute. She rattled off a half dozen examples over the last couple of days when Siri was very cute. It was a beautiful reminder of how the kids can always manage to teach (or at least remind) the adults a thing or two. So, here I am writing a post about my younger daughter's cuteness....and my older daughter being wise beyond her years. (That's my excuse for her teaching me a lesson.)

My girls are both bursting with cuteness 95% of the time. I'd be lying if I said the other 5% of the time wasn't what seemed to stick in my head longer though. My little lesson tonight was a great reminder about forgiving and forgetting. You'd think that I would be able to remember this better after my multiple posts about focusing on the good rather than the bad. Now everyone knows my secret....I'm not perfect. I know this comes as a surprise to many of you, but this post was full of surprises. I hope you can forgive me. Until next time....

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hey Y'all, Watch This!

One of the many things I learned since starting a personal blog is that some of the smallest things in your day can turn itself into a blog post. I'm not saying that they all turn into good blog posts....just that they somehow snowball into a mass of words that just need to be written. I realized how silly it may seem to someone else when my wife asked me why I wrote "Wow end ow" on a piece of paper on the kitchen counter. If a normal person had written that note, people might scratch their head and wonder if they still had all their marbles. My wife has gotten used to my strange little notes though. It didn't even phase her that I had a "cryptic message" scrawled on a piece of paper. She was more interested in how I was going to turn that into a blog. Well, here it is:
As my daughter was drying off after her bath tonight, she saw the word "Wow" printed on a magazine and commented that "wow ends in ow." As a kindergartner learning to read, she enjoys pointing things out like that. My brain on the other hand (at least a 6th or 7th grade level) started thinking about this past weekend and generating a post in my head.

This same daughter learned how to ride her bike without training wheels this weekend. She was almost as excited about it as I was. I know part of her not learning to lose the training wheels last year was in part due to limited practice time, but more because of fear. She couldn't get the thought that the "wow" of learning to ride a bike might involve an "ow" or two. Her brain was so focused on "wow ends in ow" that she was keeping herself from really trying.

The real problem was that she wouldn't fall over or crash. She was so scared of getting hurt that she would stop (give up) at the first second she got a little wobbly. That of course means she just has to start again with the same fear that she might fall and get hurt. (For the record, riding a bike for 5-6 feet at a time isn't an ideal learning situation.) Anyway, since I didn't want anyone to see me push her over and make her crash, I had to wait until she did it all on her own. That moment finally happened, she saw it wasn't so bad, and she got right back on the bike. That made me more proud than actually seeing her ride her bike on her own five minutes later.

The moral of this little story is to focus on the wow rather than being afraid of the ow. I won't bore you with a list of every day examples where adults do the same thing because I'm sure you can think of a half dozen right off the top of your head. Unfortunately, in real life it's not "like riding a bike" where you never forget, We forget over and over and over....constantly being afraid of the mistake or accident rather than the thrill or joy of not falling (or failing).

Next weekend, I'm going to teach her a new phrase. It's one that I heard often back in my home state of Texas. I'm getting her used to the idea of this new phrase by showing her YouTube videos of people riding wheelies and getting some great air off of rickety homemade ramps. By next Sunday afternoon, she ought to be hollering, "Hey y'all, watch this!" Until next time.....

(Disclaimer: "Hey y'all, watch this" is typically followed by something much worse than "ow", so use it at your own risk. )

Monday, March 9, 2015

What pet to get?

My girls, like most kids on the face of the planet, want a pet. It wasn't all that long ago that they first learned I had a dog when I lived down in Texas. That little tidbit of knowledge has only fueled their desire to have a dog, or cat, or bird, or pony, or chicken....pretty much any pet would suffice. Just like me as a kid, they are clueless to the amount of work (and money) involved with owning a pet. There is also the obvious chance that they could quickly get past their desire to have a pet and then it would be my pet. I would love to have a dog again, but not enough to justify running out and getting one just yet. I think I can already hear the "why nots" coming in, so I will explain.

The first hurdle we would have to clear is what type of pet to get. I naturally lean towards getting a dog, but my biggest drawback for getting a dog right now is that I don't want to deal with giving the dog ample outside play and bathroom time through the sub-zero Minnesota winters. I won't get a cat because I'm allergic to them. (I also don't really think cats are all that much fun - please don't judge.) I had a few goldfish growing up and they were even less fun than a cat. (Not to mention the three goldfish I had were probably actually a dozen or more goldfish.) So far, the dog still has the lead in my book.

Thinking a little outside the box, my girls have had a few other ideas. Both of them want a pony. Well, duh?? They ARE little girls. If I still lived at my country place out in East Texas, that might be an option,,,,until I found out they only wanted a pony so they could braid it's hair. My youngest has a new fascination with snakes. That is not a thought I would have had for them and, once again, not a very fun pet to play with. The list went on.... A ferret might be fun. A monkey would be a blast. A pig could make bacon (that would be a tough sell with the girls though). An elephant would be awesome, but I'm not sure where we'd keep him. Little by little, we are realizing that a dog will probably end up being the winner......until I have an epiphany tonight. We need a smaller, fun, cute pet that doesn't mind the winter cold....

I'm really not sure why I never thought of getting a penguin before?? They're cute, they like the cold, they make some good movies. Along with fitting some our our basic criteria, I thought of another advantage to having a penguin: A penguin really should have a pool to make the summer bearable. (Oohh, a Bear, I forgot that one.) I would love to have an excuse to have a pool. It would be a win-win situation. My girls would have a cute little pet and my wife and I would have a pool. Now, does anyone know where I go to get a penguin? Let me know what you hear of any sales. Until next time....

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring forward???

Daylight savings time is this weekend and this year I am going to join the club of people wondering why we even bother with it anymore. I don't think it really makes a difference to us all that much in terms of the amount of natural light. I'm sure there's a laundry list of supposed reasons for it, but I can only think of two things that benefit from it: Coffee and Beer.

Coffee is the Spring holiday. I don't know anyone that goes to bed an hour earlier the night they are forced to turn their clocks forward. I do know that millions of people take up drinking a lot more coffee for a week or two afterwards though. It may be a short lived boost to coffee sales, but it is at least a (small) benefit to someone because of the time change.

Beer is the Fall holiday. I remember looking forward to the Fall time change back in college because it meant we got an extra hour before last call at the bar. Some of the bars actually made a big deal out of pulling out a ladder and changing the clock on the wall....which then prompted everyone to buy a couple more rounds. This holiday doesn't mean as much to me anymore as I'm usually wondering what I'm still doing awake after 10pm most nights.

Because I know that coffee and beer are often used by my readers to make it through my blog posts (either to kill the pain of reading them or to stay awake while reading them), I feel I should at least leave you with a little story about the day I learned how to remember which way to turn the clock:

Many years ago, I was standing in the kitchen at my buddy's house when I made the comment that I could never remember which way I was supposed to turn the clocks for daylight savings. As luck (or lack thereof, depending on how you take it) would have it, my friend's dad, Duane, happened to be walking through the kitchen at that very moment. Well, Duane can be quite the joker and I hesitated slightly before saying "yes" when he asked me if I wanted to learn a trick to help me remember. I got a little nervous when he then asked me if I was SURE I wanted to know. I figured why not?? Afterall he did "reassure" me and say that I would never forget again. (For the record, I haven't.)

I barely had the words "ok" out of my mouth when he dove at me and basically tackled me right there in the kitchen. It was a surprise and it turned out to be a valuable and lasting lesson. He then explained by saying, "I Spring forward and you Fall back." (Spring clocks go forward. Fall clocks go back....for those of you who are too tired due to daylight savings time.) I can honestly say I've never forgotten which way to turn the clock. I still haven't learned WHY we still have to do it though.

On that note, I'm going to call it a night. I overheard my wife telling my girls that they should be going to bed a little bit earlier each night this week to prepare them for the time change on Sunday. Seeing as it's already ten after nine in the evening, I think that sounds like a good idea. (I told you my bedtimes are getting pretty pathetic.) Until next time....